How to Spend a Weekend on the Crystal Coast

The Crystal Coast of North Carolina is one of the most beautiful destinations on the Atlantic. With something to do for every interest, you can spend weeks exploring all the exciting attractions! Luckily, even if you only have a weekend here, you can make the most of it. You might be overwhelmed with all the things to do near our Crystal Coast weekend rentals, but we’ve created this handy guide for your perfect itinerary. 


Day One

Beaufort is the perfect place to start your day, a quick 10-minute journey away from Bogue Banks. This town is a great spot to begin the morning thanks to its abundance of incredible cafes. You can grab your cup of joe from the Beaufort Coffee Shop or Common Ground, check out the morning’s happenings at City Java & News, or get a mouthwatering bagel with your coffee at Palm & Moon Bagel Company. Each of these locations is quaint and welcoming, offering up high-quality breakfast foods and beverages at budget-friendly prices. 

While you’re in Beaufort, continue your morning and move into the afternoon with a walking tour! The excursions available through Hungry Town Guided Tours are the perfect ways to see all the sights of Beaufort at once. There are several different tours to choose from, like the Hidden Beaufort Tour, A Ride to Remember inspired by Nicholas Sparks (biking tour), or the Food by Foot Culinary Walking Tour. Each tour will take you through the best attractions in the area at a leisurely pace, and you’ll love getting to know your experienced and friendly guide.

bicycle on path

Finish up your time in Beaufort by enjoying lunch at the Front Street Grill at Stillwater. This restaurant is housed inside the renovated Topsail Marine Boathouse, giving you a beautiful atmosphere in a truly historic location. On the menu, you’ll find a wide selection of soups and salads, as well as unique seafood tacos and sandwiches. Of course, there are non-seafood options like burgers and chicken sandwiches as well. You can enjoy your lunch in the dining room or outside on the patio. Whatever you do, don’t leave without an order of mouthwatering parmesan truffle fries!

Next, head on to Morecity City to get creative for the evening. While you’re here, you’ll want to book a class at Wine & Design, a studio where you can enjoy a great drink and create an incredible work of art! These classes are perfect for even the newest painter and make a perfect destination for date night, girls’ night out, or a family affair. You’ll have a painting instructor guiding you through your work of art, and at the end of the night, you’ll get to take home a special souvenir that’s truly one-of-a-kind!

Finally, your day is winding down, but you’ll probably want dinner before heading back to your Atlantic Beach rental! Be sure to make a reservation at SoundSide Restaurant, home to the best beef in Morehead. This upscale eatery is a family-owned operation that always serves Certified Angus Beef over live charcoal. Their menu changes weekly to ensure the staff can use the freshest ingredients, but rest assured that you can always select a great steak, mouthwatering seafood, and a wide range of desserts that are absolutely to die for. Keep in mind that you must have a reservation to dine here, so be sure to call ahead! 

Day Two

As you kick off your second day, start your morning at The Banks Grill. They open up at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast on the weekends and offer some of the best food on the coast. Maybe you want to keep things light with oatmeal or granola and fruit, or perhaps you’re looking to indulge in some Island Style French Toast, the “soon-to-be-famous” jumbo cinnamon roll. You can even go classic with an egg-based breakfast. The options are endless, but they’re all equally delicious. Grab a hot cup of coffee to get into gear, and you’re ready for another day of exploring! 

a lovely coffee at a local cafe

For your morning activity, it’s time to head to nearby Atlantic Beach to get up close and personal with nature. The big attraction here is Fort Macon State Park, which is the second most-visited state park in all of North Carolina despite being one of the smallest. Here, you’ll find gorgeous undisturbed natural beauty all around you, and you have the chance to learn about the estuaries, dunes, and salt marshes that you come across. You can also get your history lesson here and learn about the important role that this fort played in the Civil War. 

For a lunchtime experience that combines beachy atmosphere with delectable German cuisine, head to Idle Hour Biergarten starting at noon. You can choose to dine inside or enjoy the view from the outdoor seating area. Start out with classic butter-toasted Bavarian pretzels or 24-hour house made fried pickles, then grab a juicy burger, authentic brat, or delectable taco. If you want something a little lighter, don’t worry; there’s a delicious chopped salad on the menu as well.

seabird at sunset

Once you’re done, make the 30-minute drive down to Harkers Island to finish off your weekend. You won’t want to miss out on Cape Lookout National Seashore! There’s so much to do here, from looking out for more than 250 bird species to strolling along the shoreline as the sun starts to set. You can also climb up to the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse for a one-of-a-kind view of the water. This destination is a perfect relaxing spot to wrap up your weekend on the Crystal Coast. 

But you’re not done quite yet! If you’re looking to grab a quick dinner before heading out of town, go to Seaside Stop N Shop Café. The restaurant and adjoining store are both open until 9 p.m. on the weekends, so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy a meal and look for a souvenir. On the menu, you’ll find tons of fresh fish offerings and plenty of classic Southern side dishes to complete your meal. Then you can head to the store to grab a souvenir hat or mug. This is the perfect way to finish off an incredible weekend!

Choose Your Vacation Rental

In order to see all of these breathtaking sights along the Crystal Coast, you’re going to need a place to stay! Spectrum Properties is proud to maintain vacation rentals all throughout the area, so no matter which city you’re looking to stay in, we’ve got a rental for you. Some of our most popular rental options are located in Atlantic Beach, Harkers Island, and Beaufort.

Our wide selection of rental homes allows you to select the perfect property for you and your group. Whether you’re traveling with your sweetheart or are taking a getaway with the family, we’ve got you covered. Our Atlantic Beach rentals put you right in the middle of the action, while our Harkers Island rentals grant you a bit more privacy. If you’re a history buff, our Beaufort rentals may be right for you. You can’t go wrong with whatever you choose! Ready to book your weekend getaway to the Crystal Coast? Contact us today to get started!